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What is a “Pour Over Will”?

A “Pour Over” will is a document that is used as a supporting document in a Trust Based Estate Plan.  Trust based plans rely on “funding” or “retitling” of your assets, property, bank accounts, etc.  A Pour Over Will is a backup instrument that is intended to take care of anything that was not funded properly, whether by beneficiary designation, retitling, or otherwise.  Unfortunately, it only works through the probate system.  It also deals only with property that is titled in the name of the decedent, or that has been designated by beneficiary assignment to the “estate” of the decedent.

It isn’t a perfect tool, but does take care of a lot of oversights and mistakes.  In some respects it is very much like any other will, and in other respects much, much different.

Basically, it says “Take whatever we missed, run it through probate, put it into the trust, and act like it was there to start with”.  In other words, the Trust is the only beneficiary of this will.

Pourover wills often give the “Personal Representative” or “Executor” the power to create a trust identical to the one that was intended to be created if this can be determined.

They aren’t perfect tools, and can’t fix all errors, but no well designed Trust Based Plan should be without one.

Contact us if you need more help.

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